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Everything posted by falcotron

  1. Yeah, if I'm right in general, but there is another exception besides Dawn, it's probably Ice. But I don't want this thread to get derailed on a side issue that has nothing to do with Lollygag's original point, as at least two other threads have been in the past, so I started a separate thread for it.
  2. I suspect all of the legendary bronze-age swords of Westeros are just meteoric iron swords, and Dawn is the only one that's in any way magical. These other iron swords would have vastly outclassed the bronze weapons everyone else was using, and would be rare enough to be a big deal, but they'd no longer seem magical after the Andals brought steel, which could explain why they were lost or discarded for Valyrian steel namesakes.
  3. You're assuming that the Casterlys are not background in the Lannister story, but are instead either a story of their own, with their own mysteries, or are the key to the Lannisters. Maybe you're right, but I don't see anything to warrant that assumption. Beyond the handful of core families and the dozens of still important but not major side families, there are hundreds of other families mentioned in the stories, and they do not all have important secrets and mysteries. But at any rate, I know you've already said you have a theory that brings in the Lannisters (who obviously are a major family with important stuff going on) that you're not ready to post yet. So presumably there is some narrative function here that you've found, as opposed to the usual random tinfoil people like to post here where the only answer to "What would be the point?" is "It would make me smart for being the guy to randomly guess it", so I'll wait to see what you've found instead of trying to second-guess it.
  4. The difference is that the Starks, Lannisters, Arryns etc. are established Houses, who follow aristocratic traditions and place great stock in their name and in their historical claims, while the Free Folk don't give a damn about heredity and don't even use last names. The idea that a family would preserve their legendary ancestry for thousands of years while living in a culture that doesn't place any meaning on that ancestry is very different from the idea that the Lannisters would preserve their source of legitimacy for thousands of years while living in a culture where they've continuously relied on that source of legitimacy. The connection to casting molds—as for gold rings—is probably more likely to be relevant. Sure, someone had to be importing and using all that iron than the Iron Islands and half their ancient houses are named for, and using it for cast iron rather than forged or wrought iron, given that the First Men were a bronze age society, but it doesn't seem likely that a royal family famed for owning a gold mine would be named for iron casting, even if they were the ones doing it. Being named for being the source of most of the gold jewelry in Westeros, on the other hand, seems more plausible. Still, I think it's the "noble castellan" meanings, and the "-caster" part of Lancaster, that GRRM had in mind. Two layers really is enough for a minor background family that doesn't have any outstanding mysteries.
  5. The biggest problem with Craster being a Casterly is that the Casterlys have been extinct for thousands of years, and your solution to that is that maybe the entire family—unlike any other family we've heard of—was forced north of the Wall (and continued to call themselves Casterlys even while living as wildlings), and maybe one of the few things we know about Craster (that his father was a Watchman) is actually not true. Also, your main evidence seems to be that Craster sounds kind of like Casterly. But they're real life names that have nothing to do with each other. One means "crow fort" from Old English "cra(i)" plus Latin "(ce)ster", while the other means "from Chastelai, Normandy" (which ultimately means "castle owner") from Norman French.* Of course there are less prominent Casterly families with different etymologies, but none of them are any closer.** It's pretty obvious why GRRM named the character who lives in a fort right outside the Night Watch headquarters "Craster", and why GRRM named the family taking the Lancaster role in his War of the Roses expy "LANnister" of "CASTERly Rock". --- * Obviously the French word for "castle" and the Latin work for "fort" aren't completely unrelated, but they're very, very distant relatives. ** The Norman French words for "castellan" and "castle worker", Irish for "curly-haired" (same name as the more familiar Cassidy), and the English word "caster" (as in someone who casts, e.g., iron, and whose descendant wants a name that sounds like a fancy French nobleman instead of a grubby English workman).
  6. falcotron

    GoT Actors in Other Stuff - Part 2

    Yeah, he played Richard I at least twice, but to be fair, he's played just about everyone in English history (starting with Aethlstane, the king before whom there was no such thing as English), so he had to double up somewhere.
  7. falcotron

    Casterly Rock Why?

    Also, I think he still really, really wants to take Casterly Rock away from Cersei, because he was supposed to be the heir—far more so than he consciously realizes, which may have distorted his judgment a bit.
  8. falcotron

    Casterly Rock Why?

    WoIaF says "Legends says that Visenya Targaryen, upon seeing it, thanked the gods that King Loren rode forth to face her brother Aegon on the Field of Fire, for if he had remained within the Rock, even dragonflame would not have daunted him.” But in the novels, Casterly Rock isn't just a castle on top of a mountain, it's a castle carved out of the mountain. The halls and chambers are built by digging out areas around the mineshafts. Even the port is in a cave in the mountain. The only thing on top of the mountain is a small ring for that they use for surveying and scouting. In the show, it's a pretty standard castle, and I don't think it would hold up to a serious dragon attack nearly as well as the one in the books.
  9. falcotron

    GoT Actors in Other Stuff - Part 2

    Speaking of Doctor Who, David Bradley (Walder Frey), after playing First Doctor actor William Hartnell in the 50th anniversary docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time, is now playing the actual First Doctor in this year's Christmas special. A friend of mine who doesn't watch GoT regularly wanted to know why Ashildr was impersonating the Doctor at the start of this season. Also, someone posted a list of GoT/DW crossovers earlier, but only included connections from the 2005 series. Most of the older cast members were on the classic (1963-1989) series or involved in the "wilderness years" between 1989-2005 in some way, just because most British actors old enough to play an older person were on the show at some point in its 26+ years. Rather than list them all: Earliest (I think): Julian Glover (Pycelle) playing Richard the Lionheart in The Crusade in 1965 (he's also Scaroth in City of Death, maybe the most famous one-off villain in the classic series, the one who was unstuck in time and secretly had a head made of green spaghetti). Last: RIchard E. Grant (Izembaro) playing the Ninth Doctor in the 2003 animated pilot Scream of the Shalka. Most crossovers: Richard E. Grant (Izembaro), Jim Broadbent (Archmaester Ebrose), and Jonathan Pryce (High Sparrow) as Ninth Doctor, Tenth Doctor, and Master in the 1999 semi-official parody The Curse of Fatal Death. Also, the shortlist for the Eighth Doctor included Jonathan Pryce (High Sparrow), Liam Cunningham (Davos), and Tim McInnerny (Robett Glover).
  10. falcotron

    GoT Actors in Other Stuff - Part 2

    Has anyone mentioned DIana Rigg joining Victoria this season? I've only watched the first episode, but it's pretty strange casting. Diana Rigg is basically written as Olenna Tyrell. The real Duchess of Buccleuch was 30 years old, deeply religious, a "lifelong romantic", and an agreeable woman who became Victoria's best friend. It's also the only role I've seen her in since her return from retirement in 2013 (for Doctor Who) where she's basically just playing Olenna. It seems like a waste, given her range. But maybe she'll do more with it in later episodes. I think the only other actor Victoria and GoT have in common is Guy Oliver-Watts, who had a minor recurring role as Sir James Hayter in S1 of Victoria, and was a unnamed Lannister general this year, although I think his scenes were cut from all but the last episode. (Victoria and Doctor Who, on the other hand…)
  11. falcotron

    Casterly Rock Why?

    Yeah, people tend to forget that Tyrion has been away from Westeros for a few years, and couldn't possibly know about the amazing strides made in transmat technology. When he left, you could only transmat a single person, and only if he was a kind of small person; now, an entire navy can go from one side of the continent to the other.
  12. falcotron

    Winter & the Dothraki

    Last time the Night King and his dead army were defeated, they just fled into the far north to sleep for 8000 years. The generation-long winter ended, but Westeros has had its funky seasons. And the show (or books) could give us a cyclical ending, where they rebuild the Watch and Bran takes over as first of a new line of greenseers and everyone promises that this time they'll try to remember so they don't always get wiped out in another 8000 years.* It could be a more final victory this time, but I suspect only if they're going to wipe out all magic—dragons, greenseeing, wargs, etc. --- * Except that in another 8000 years their AI-controlled particle beam defense system will just annihilate the dead before anyone gets to the transmat to take a look.
  13. What a fun vacation home that would be. When you tire of the Weeping Water, a river that features ice fishing even in the summer, come inside, through the door that looks like a sharp-toothed bestial mouth, and relax in the smoke-filled great hall by the dim light of torches held by skeletal human hands. The all-stone furniture is no more uncomfortable than the decor is spooky. While you're there, don't forget to visit the largest torture chamber on the continent, and the room full of thousands of years of flayed human skins.
  14. falcotron

    Wolfs Blood Traits?

    Or he could end up even wilder than any Stark, raised half in the wilds and half as a Skagosi, more unicorn than wolf. But then a unicorn and a wolf working together, that could be a hell of a team.
  15. falcotron

    Jon will get wightified, a theory by Lothar Frey

    So what? Do you actually believe in the Old Gods or something? Are you sacrificing kids to the trees in your backyard? Why should R'hllor care that Jon followed the Old Gods any more than he cared that Cat and Beric followed the Seven, or any more than the Great Other should care that some of the corpses he's raised were left behind by Northerners and others by Southerners? The gods aren't that prejudiced. (And of course R'hllor and the Great Other and the other gods probably aren't real, anthropomorphic gods like their followers believe anyway, and some impersonal magic force has even less reason to be interested in what Jon's religious beliefs were than R'hllor would.) As long as all those gods stay away from Vargo Hoat's corpse, because that would be wrong on so many levels, as the Black Goat is obviously real.
  16. Yes, most of it has already been discussed. But I'll summarize it for you anyway: Well, he didn't. Annulment is not the same thing as divorce. Most people who are angry about this, that's actually part of what they're angry about. You seem to think they're the same thing. Neither annulment nor divorce jeopardizes his first sons right to be heir. In the modern day, or in real medieval Europe, or in Westeros. Why would you think otherwise? Polygamy has been established as a thing his family used to do, but haven't done since Maegor. They gave up fighting for that right even before they lost their dragons. There's probably no actual law against it, so Rhaegar could try to revive the practice, but it would hardly be an open-and-shut easy sell to the lords, the people, and the Faith. Out-of-story, a polygamous marriage would mean Jon's claim is open to question. That might actually be a good plotline for the books, if GRRM wants to spend dozens of pages examining Dany's thoughts on what Jon's claim means to her birthright. But in the show, they're not going to spend dozens of scenes inside Dany's mind, so it would be an extra complication for no actual benefit. No, a lord probably can't divorce his lady at any time. That's why Rhaegar got an annulment rather than a divorce. And why he needed the High Septon to do it, rather than just doing it himself. Annulment is something that happened in medieval Europe. The books, and to a lesser extent the show, have talk of kings or princes setting aside their wives—including the plot to get Robert to set aside Cersei and marry Margy—so clearly it happens there too. Really, we don't know nearly enough to be sure whether the High Septon actually had the ability to annul this particular marriage—except, of course, that he did so. Since that doesn't contradict anything in the show, or the books, or real-life history, or common sense, there's no reason not to accept it, much less to assume it was impossible and get angry about it. You should be careful about complaining about D&D pandering to stupid watchers who may get confused in the same post that you confuse annulment and divorce, don't remember the history of Targaryen polygamy, missed the point about the High Septon annulling the marriage even though they virtually sledgehammered us with it, etc.
  17. 1 hour ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

    Useful is not all it's cracked up to be. I'd love the details. I'm a total history nerd. Feel free to send them in a PM if you like.

    If I were smart, I would have just started at Plantagenet England, realized that it fit pretty well, and have been done. But instead…

    The most famous cadet house traditions are the early modern HRE ones, I'm pretty sure GRRM didn't borrow from there, because the reason they're famous is all the the wacky results that still persist to modern times, like the British royal house being a cadet branch of a cadet branch of a Wettin duchy and the German imperial house being a cadet branch of the County of Hohenzollern. There doesn't seem to be anything like that in Westeros.

    So, next, medieval France, which is the original basis for most other European systems (since they had strict primogeniture before anyone else, so they needed it). The heraldic rules fit, and the few descriptions we get of cadet houses seem to work, but there's a huge problem: In France, if you can't acquire a new territory through marriage or conquest to give to your second son, you almost always split off a new fief within your main holdings for him. In Westeros, acquiring territory through marriage seems to be actively discouraged rather than encouraged. Conquest may be about as common as in France (like House Lannister of Darry) but that's not very common. And we don't see subdivision every generation—it's rare enough that it's presumably something you only do if you really like your second son or are really worried about him rebelling, rather than it being expected.

    Norman England directly brought over the French appanage traditions, but William immediately ran into the problem of his heir trying to overthrow him twice, so he ended up leaving everything to his second son, William II. Meanwhile, William II and Henry I were trying to flatten out the aristocracy and shrink all the old and new earldoms down, so nobody wanted to subdivide their domains either, because that would just make it easier for the kings to turn everyone into little more than barons. But when it did happen (often after acquiring new territory—e.g., Edward II conquered north Wales and part of Scotland, then his son gave York and Lancaster to his cadets), they followed the French rules. Which is basically the same thing we see in Westeros.

    And if you assume that GRRM borrowed this system for cadet houses, everything works, including the heraldry.

    What about bastard houses? They weren't very common in Plantagenet England, but they were common a few centuries later. And if you look at the Westerosi heraldic pattern—the father's arms quartered on a plain field with a baton sinister—that was invented by the King of Arms standardizations in the late 16th century. At that time, it was clear that bastards were not considered cadets—this was explicit with Charles II's bastards. Appanage was pretty much dead at that point, but if it had still existed, I don't think it would have applied to bastards. At that time, appanage was pretty much dead anyway, but also, Charles II's bastards were explicitly not called cadets.

    So, my guess is that Westeros's cadet house system is borrowed from Norman to Plantagenet England, but its bastard system is borrowed from Stuart England.

    As you can see, there's a lot of guessing here, but I think it all fits.

    1. Lady Blizzardborn

      Lady Blizzardborn

      Very cool! Thank you for sharing all of that with me.

  18. falcotron

    Varys has no purpose

    Maybe everyone is spying for Cersei—Varys, Tyrion, Jorah, Missandei, even Dany herself.
  19. falcotron

    Is Jon and Dany's blood relationship supposed to be a problem?

    Asia is particularly interesting, because, particularly in southeast Asia, there are ethnic groups living right next to each other for centuries that have very different traditions. My favorite theory is that this is a case of neighboring societies exaggerating their historical differences to differentiate themselves—like Jews not eating shellfish to differentiate themselves from the coastal Canaanites, the Lao go to an extreme in avoiding cousin marriages* to differentiate themselves from the Tai Dam and some other Tai ethnic groups. Of course there are other theories, but none of them seem very compelling to me.** ETA: And, getting back to your point, there's no evidence of different rates of birth defects correlating with ethnicity once you control for socioeconomic level. --- * Until the 1970s diaspora, most Lao people avoided marrying anyone with the same last name, just in case. Which makes cousin marriages even rarer among the aristocracy than among the poor, because Lao women can freely choose to keep their father's name instead of their husband's, so the top families have become huge extended clans. And this taboo is especially unusual because it isn't traditional to ask someone's family name until you've gotten to the point of exchanging name cards (Victorian-England style), so there are many stories of men who've met the perfect woman, only to learn she's not available because they have the same name. ** For example, it's hard to make a case for the difference between the Lao and Tai being based on one having more Indian culture ancestry or later contact and the other Chinese, or caste systems vs. merit systems, or naming traditions, etc., because they're pretty much identical on all such measures. Religion does distinguish the Tai Dam from the Lao, but that doesn't work as soon as you include, e.g., the Tai Yo.
  20. falcotron

    Is Jon and Dany's blood relationship supposed to be a problem?

    I suspect the Martells might be the least inbred. The same Princess who managed to get one of her daughters married to Rhaegar let her heir marry a Norvosi lady and her other son bring home bastards from four foreign women before settling down with (but not marrying) the bastard daughter of one of their lesser vassal houses. And everyone in Dorne seems to take that as business as usual. (And the show seems to have exaggerated rather than downplayed these differences.)
  21. falcotron

    Is Jon and Dany's blood relationship supposed to be a problem?

    Thanks for that example. That's exactly the kind of thing I'd expect from a family that's just winging it with their marriages, and it demonstrates Faint's point nicely.
  22. falcotron

    Is Jon and Dany's blood relationship supposed to be a problem?

    Sure. In fact, it's quite possible that by carefully spreading their blood around six families, the Tyrells actually casting a wider net than the other families. (After all, most regions don't have six houses tied for #2.) Again, not disputing your conclusions at all, I'm just not sure the Tyrells are the best example.
  23. falcotron

    Is Jon and Dany's blood relationship supposed to be a problem?

    Even though I agree with your overall points, I do want to raise something here: The Tyrells may well be a special case. Aegon I put the old king's stewards, the Tyrells, in charge, despite there being six families that had an arguably better claim. Ever since then, the Tyrells seem to have very evenly divided their children among those six families. That could be a deliberate plan to solidify their rule (or at least it could have started as a deliberate plan and then just become a family tradition). But of course that's just a more extreme version of what every ruling house does. I'd bet if we got a full family tree for the Arryns we'd see that Royces and Waynwoods are much more common than Coldwaters and Hardyngs. So it doesn't really change your argument.
  24. falcotron

    Is Jon and Dany's blood relationship supposed to be a problem?

    How does that mean she's a distant cousin? There's almost nothing of the family tree above Cregan; all we know is that she's not first cousin or aunt, because the rest is just blank space.
  25. falcotron

    Is Jon and Dany's blood relationship supposed to be a problem?

    Among Muslims, as I was talking about? Or Chinese people, as in the previous post? Even in Catholic Europe, their incest taboos—and the laws that went with them—were clearly inherited from the Romans, while their religion enshrined taboos inherited from the Jews. Attempts by the Catholic Church to change the definition of incest backfired every time. And they weren't changing it to anything based on the Old Testament anyway—as Lucy Mormont points out, those are all property-based rather than consanguinity-based. So it's not a matter of ignoring one line in Leviticus while enshrining another one as you're suggesting. There is nothing in Leviticus that can possibly be interpreted as saying that sixth cousins are incest, that's just something some bishop made up that the Pope approved of (possibly, as Luther charged, not even because he agreed with the bishop, just to make money for the Church). Not all mammal species avoid engaging in incest, but it's more common than not. Mice are probably the best-studied. Female mice smell all the males around them and choose the most distantly-related one they can get. If the most distant relation is their brother, they will mate with their brother, but that only really happens in pet or lab situations. If a sufficiently more distantly-related male shows up, they will abandon their mate, and sometimes even spontaneously abort a pregnancy. For something a little more human-like: In multiple primate species who live in bands, like chimps, young males regularly raid other bands to steal their daughters, only mating within their own band in desperation. Some species do seem to use social setups to make incest uncommon rather than anything like a "taboo" against it. For example, if you put orangutans together in the zoo, they don't seem to distinguish, but in the wild, males travel far from home on reaching puberty, while females set up territories as close to their mothers as possible, so it just never happens. In the other direction, desert cat females wander very long distances whenever they go into heat, so it rarely comes up, but if they happen to end up in the territory of a close relative, they'll apparently mate with them. And there are definitely some species that do inbreed frequently, and maybe even preferentially. There was an article about a mongoose species a few years ago: even when you put unrelated family groups together in the same enclosure, the males go out of their way to mate with their own daughters and sisters and avoid the foreign females. But that was news precisely because it's a rare exception, not the norm. Anyway, different mammal species are different, but humans seem to be more like chimps than like mongooses (or mice).* Biological inbreeding is really not that big of a problem for most human societies. When you come down to the difference between a sixth-degree prohibition and and only-daughters-and-sisters prohibition, the effects are pretty minimal. And the only scant studies on this seemed to show that marrying mostly second cousins is actually better for avoiding birth defects than not marrying relatives at all. Meanwhile, social norms aren't necessarily entirely arbitrary. First, there are advantages and disadvantages to a society for different kinds of incest—and the biological effects are only one of many issues, and nowhere near the most important—and societies do, albeit very imperfectly, often tend toward solutions that work for their society.** Second, there are some things that are clearly just built into humans, and disgust at incest seems to be one of them. Different societies have different definitions of incest, but every society has a concept of incest and a taboo against it. Which brings us to the special cases: Ancient Egypt did not support incestuous unions in general, only among the Pharaohs. You can see that the Pharaonic rules were somewhat unusual from examples like Sobekneferu being required to take wives rather than husbands, because she's a Pharaoh and that's what they do, even though it was pretty obvious she wasn't going to produce an heir that way, and that could well lead to the end of the kingdom.** Obviously this doesn't mean ancient Egypt promoted lesbianism, it means they had very strict religious rules that they applied dogmatically. Their religion said the Pharaohs were descended from the gods, and mixing their blood with humans would weaken them. It also had the social benefits of not breaking up the royal wealth (without a strong concept of primogeniture, the kids are always going to fight to do that), reducing the problem of powerful families competing to put their grandchildren on the throne, extending the length of their dynasties when they had to pass through a female Pharaoh (because there would usually be a cousin-nephew to take over after her), etc. And yet, most Pharaohs took a number of other wives and/or concubines in addition to the sister they were required to take, and seemed to have a lot more kids with them. --- * Which isn't necessarily because chimps are our closest relatives. Bonobos are completely different, and they're even closer to chimps than we are. I'd be willing to bet that there's a strong relationship between incest patterns and social structure—e.g., if there were a wolf species that lived in harems, they'd probably be more like lions than like other wolves—but I don't know of any surveys that establish that, it just seems like common sense. ** In fact, even much of what seems arbitrary may be a matter of a social group either reinforcing or diminishing a difference with their neighbors to either stay apart or assimilate. For example, the kosher rule on shellfish doesn't make much sense on their own, but when you consider that it makes it harder for an Israeli boy to marry into a Phoenician family, and the Jews believed their religion to pass through the female line, it starts to make more sense. *** Which didn't quite happen, since her cousin took over and founded the Thirteenth Dynasty, which wasn't quite weak enough to collapse instantly, but instead only gradually lost all of Egypt over the next 150 years.